Mammano, Augusto (1997) Relativistic interstellar aberrational navigation. Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti - Classe di Scienze FF.MM.NN., LXXV (1). pp. 329-344.
atti_3_1997_sup1_329.pdf - Published Version
In a recent work (1994), A. Ferrari (1994), director of the Astrophysics Department of Turin University, shows the critical evolution of Mankind on the Earth. The population boom, the greenhouse effect and pollution set the absolute limit of one thousand years to the duration of our technological civilisation. During this time, biological oceanography could alleviate the widespread suffering of the Poor. There are some events, like the exciting launch of the first Russian artificial satellite in the orbit, conquering the Moon, Giotto probe’s voyage towards the Halley comet and sending of other costly probes to the superior planets of the solar system, that could be interpreted as forerunners of our future emancipation from the Earth. Some plans for space colonies with a few thousand inhabitants around the Earth have already been drawn up and only await the necessary financial means to be implemented. The planned landing on Mars in the first decades of the next century (Chicarro et al., 1993), the project approved by the European Space Agency for the landing of a probe on the head of a comet and the dispatch of another probe to the satellite Titan (similar to the Moon but with an atmosphere) show that Man is endeavouring to colonise the nearest planets and the most promising asteroids in order to escape the collapse of life on Earth which will be caused either by internal contradictions or the collision against asteroids. But the most enterprising individuals are not satisfied with the colonisation of the solar system, as also the solar evolution represents a threat. The Sun will increase by a hundred times its diameter within some billion years and will then collapse into a white dwarf, ten thousand times smaller than the red giant and a hundred times smaller and fainter than it is today, thus putting an end to its beneficial influence on humanity. Of course, this time scale is somewhat too remote to justify interstellar initiatives now. The colonisation of the galaxy has been foreseen by a renowned astrophysicists such as J.S. Schklovskii (1980) on the basis of the exponential increase in energy requirements by Mankind. M. Hack (1994) on her part, foresees the invention of a cyborg destined to inhabit other planets. Schklovskii (1980) and the Italian biophysicist S. Gaeta (1993) have shown that self-aware life is an extremely conditioned event whose existence depends on an unlikely repetition of the mass, distance and inclination configurations of an Earth-Moon system orbiting around the Sun of other planetary systems; only these same conditions can foster the growth of a technological civilisation, The financial means for the SETI project (search of any signals from extraterrestrial civilisations) was first withheld and then allotted on the grounds that the solutions to our problems could arrive from space, e.g. eradicating diseases and balancing our civilisation’s contradictions. These hopes are unfounded. The studies by Tipler (1980) and Wesson (1990) explain that Fermi’s paradox, i.e the fact that no galactic colonisers have been observed so far, is due to the very low probability (10 EXP —20) of the formation of a technological civilisation; we seem to be the only civilisation within the observable limits of the Universe. The SETI project wàs cancelled after one year. The TOPS project (Towards Other Planetary Systems) by NASA (1993) focuses on the discovery of planets aròund other stars. The research carried out so far from Earth and space (Murdocle et al, 1993, and Barbieri et al., 1993) has given no results, but we know that there are proto-planetary disks orbiting around stars that are much bigger and have a different temperature from our Sun. Labeyrie (1996) has proposed the installation of a terrestrial 10-km. optical interferometric system to discover Earth-like planets in other solar systems, where terrestrial organisms and in particular Mankind could settie. Some planetary systems (see A. Macchetto, 1995) comprise a planet with the same mass as Jupiter and an orbital period of a few days only, against the dozens of years of Jupiter and Saturn; they are not comparable to our solar system. Another step forward could be the launch of interstellar probes towards these targets, as was announced by NASA in the article "Interstellar Flights" by G. Vulpetti (1985); the intention is to direct the probe to the various target stars. After the exploratory phase two colonisation strategies can be applied: low speed colonisation for close objects, based on the thrusts that can be obtained around planets for a speed of about 100 km/sec, and high-speed colonisation for travels approaching some tens of the light speed (Crawford, 1989). For this second case, Hack (1994) hypothesises the creation of cyborgs or self-aware robots within the next 100 years, while Tipler (1980) foresees the use of materials collected on-site, e.g. on the asteroids that are being colonised. The possibility of producing robots more intelligent than human beings has been confirmed by Bill Joy formerly Director of the Thechnoiogicai Commission of the President of the United States . Noticeably, the colonisation of our galaxy would require a hundred million years. A more viable suggestion is to send an interferometric structure (secondary lens) around a white dwarf star at least 100 light years away from us, to be used as primary lens to resolve quasars (Gould and Gaudi, 1997). Navigation can attain relativistic velocities ranging between one and four tenths of the light speed thanks to annihilation engines (Vulpetti, 1985). This limit can be overcome only if the probe travels tangentially to a rotating stellar black hole. The probe would emerge from the ergosphere with an increased speed compared to the initial one, as it would absorb part of the black hole’s rotating energy. Moreover the peripheral region of a stellar biack hole could provide low cost mechanic energy and would thus be an ideal place for colonies. The course of such probe could not be controlled with radio signals. An Astrometric method of interstellar navigation is then explained based on the kinematic aberration for relativistic velocities, complementary to physical methods accounting for the cosmological expansion. Non specialised readers must know that the observable angle between two directions depends on the velocity of the observer. If the angles of very remote objects are compared and measured by two observers at different speed, the velocity and direction of the second observer relativeiy to the first can be derived by using extra galactic objects (quasars) as reference . Special thanks to Drs L. Puccio and G. Cusumano of the Computer Science Laboratory of the Mathematics Department of Messina University for their kind co-operation, S. Cristiani and Alberico Rigoni of the Astronomy Institute of Padova University for having provided the recent catalogue of 7000 quasars and M. Scibilia for the computer processing of relativistic navigation.
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